Saturday, November 1, 2014


Let us dip our blood on 30th anniversary of Sikh massacre today which took place in Delhi from October 31st to November 3rd in 1984 in the aftermath of the death of Indira Gandhi.

No event arguably hurt a single community since the 2nd world war as harshly as the Sikh community was  in the 1984 riots.

Above all it was not a Hindu-Sikh riot but massacre perpetrated by forces of the state.

The event exposed it's true nature.

It's memories still are etched in the minds of the Sikh people.

We commemorate this day in memory of the late prime minster's death and the birthday of Sardar Vallabahai Patel, but forget it was the inaugural day of one of the most gruesome massacres.

This event will remain as one of the darkest days ever in the history of India..

To this day the people responsible have not been brought to the book and one of the assasins wrongly awarded capital punishment.

It was not the Hindus who were responsible but the Congress politicians who incited the mob.
In fact several Hindu familes went out of the way to save their Sikh brethren.

The riots spread to Kolkata,Kanpur,Patna etc.

The most important aspect is to so analyze the historical context of the Punjab problem and how Indira Gandhi herself indirectly sponsored the Khalistani phenomenon.

While condemning the assassination we have to condemn the dastardly assault on the Sikh community many times more! 

The author can't forget the fear psychosis created in the Sikh community after the riots in every nook and corner of India.

Sikh taxi drivers shaved of their beards, children hid in dustbins.

The psyche of the Sikh community was deeply hurt and for the first time tensions communalized between Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab.

Nevertheless there were several instance of Sikh lives being saved by Hindu neighbours giving them shelter. 

Amazingly Rajiv Gandhi justified it stating :"When a great tree falls,mother earth shakes."

Later on February 15th. an AFDR publication of translation of the PUDR report on the massacre was seized by the Jalandhar police which had alaredy sold out 7000 editions.

The PUDR report was one of the most concise reportings of the true background and events of the massacre which was perpetrated by the Congress leaders.

I recommend everyone to read the PUDR-PUCL report of 1984 which should be engraved for ever in the annals of history.

The massacre instigated fury in many section sof society,particularly city youth.

As a college student I can never forget the anger in the hearts of the youth in Mumbai and in sections of workers who participated in a series of protests.

The 'Ekta' communal harmony repeatedly condemned the riots.Student bodies like Vidhayarti Pragahti Sanghatana and Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union and civili liberties organizations like C.P.D.R.and Lok Shahi Hakk Sanghatana  vociferously condemned the massacre and exposed the event in the journal 'Kalam.'In the last 2 decades significant meetings were held by forces like Democratic Students Union in Delhi and Jawaharlal University on the gruesome incident.

The concerted protest gatherings and cultural programmes in Mumbai live in my mind till this day.

Till today hardly any justice has been done and Sikh communal forces like Akali Dal have used the riots as a pretext to propagate fundamentalist poltics.It is significant that the Akali Dal is allied with the BJP in Punjab who earlier sponsored communal terrorism.Today the Hindu fascistic communal trend will also use this issue to promote their interests but history always records how the pretext of 'Hindus' was used as an excuse to attack the Sikh community in 1984.

Only a concerted peoples movement brought the culprits close to the book and created havoc in the hearts of the Congress party.The fury of the incident is still prevalent in the hearts of relatives of victims like a flame burning.We must not be fooled by the promises of the BJP government who are trying to woo the Sikh community riot victim's relatives with financial promises who  may never bring the perpetrators of the riots to the book.The 'Hindutva' ideology infact contradicts its loyalty to the Sikh community.The Communist revolutionary groups took this cause as a major event in their agenda.Sadly it is the voices of Sikh communal organizations  that have been redressed more than secular revolutionary forces.

When I passed down a street in the vicinty of  New Delhi in an autorickshaw I saw a road  politician Jagdish Tytler who instigated the riots.It speaks volumes about the level of injustice in so -called 'democracy',with opressors let scot -free.

It was tragic that a community  which served the country with such valour and loyalty in the armed forces and police were attacked as though they were gangs of criminals.

The 1984 anti-Sikhs riots or the 1984 Sikh Massacre were a series of pogroms[2][3][4][5] directed against Sikhs in India, by anti-Sikh mobs, in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. There were more than 8,000[6] deaths, including 3,000 in Delhi.[4] The Central Bureau of Investigation, the main Indian investigating agency, is of the opinion that the acts of violence were organized with the support from the then Delhi police and some central government officials.[7] Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister after his mother's death and, when asked about the riots, said "when a big tree falls, the earth shakes".[8]

During the Indian Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in the 1970s, thousands of Sikhs campaigning for autonomous government were imprisoned.[citation needed] The sporadic violence continued as a result of an armed Sikh separatist group which was designated as a terrorist entity by the Indian government. In June 1984, during Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to attack the Golden Temple and eliminate any insurgents, as it had been occupied by Sikh separatists who were stockpiling weapons. Later operations by Indian paramilitary forces were initiated to clear the separatists from the countryside of Punjab state.[9]

The violence in Delhi was triggered by the assassination of Indira Gandhi, India's prime minister, on 31 October 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards in response to her actions authorising the military operation. The Indian government reported 2,700 deaths in the ensuing chaos. In the aftermath of the riots, the Indian government reported 20,000 had fled the city, however the People's Union for Civil Liberties reported "at least" 1,000 displaced persons.[10] The most affected regions were the Sikh neighbourhoods in Delhi. Human rights organisations and newspapers across India believe the massacre was organised.[4][7][11] The collusion of political officials in the massacres and the Judiciary's failure to penalise the killers alienated normal Sikhs and increased support for the Khalistan movement.[12] The Akal Takht, the governing religious body of Sikhism, considers the killings to be a genocide.[13]\

In 2011, Human Rights Watch reported the Government of India had "yet to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings".[14] 

The 2011 WikiLeaks cable leaks revealed that the United States was convinced about the complicity of the Indian government ruled by the Indian National Congress in the riots, and termed it as "opportunism" and "hatred" of the Congress government against Sikhs.[15][16] 

The United States has refused to recognize the riots as genocide, but do acknowledge that "grave human rights violations" did take place.[17] 

Also in 2011, a new set of mass graves were discovered in Haryana, and Human Rights Watch reported that "Widespread anti-Sikh attacks in Haryana were part of broader revenge attacks" in India.[18]

On 31 October, the crowd around the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, began shouting for vengeance with slogans such as "Blood for blood!" and turned into an unruly mob. At 17:20, President Zail Singh arrived at the hospital and the mob outside stoned his car. The mob began assaulting Sikhs by stopping cars and buses to pull Sikhs out of them and burn their turbans.[34] The violence on 31 October was restricted to the area around the AIIMS and did result in many Sikh deaths.[34] People in other parts of Delhi reported their neighbourhoods were peaceful.

Throughout the night of 31 October and morning of 1 November, Congress leaders met with local supporters to distribute money and weapons. Congress party MP Sajjan Kumar and Trade Union leader Lalit Maken handed out 100 rupee notes and bottles of liquor to assailants.[34] On the morning of 1 November, Sajjan Kumar was seen holding rallies in, at least, the following Delhi neighbourhoods; in Palam Colony from 06:30 to 07:00, in Kiran Gardens from 08:00 to 08:30, and in Sultanpuri from around 08:30 to 09:00.[34] In Kiran Gardens at 8:00 AM, Sajjan Kumar was seen distributing iron rods from a parked truck to a group of 120 people and instructing them to "attack Sikhs, kill them, and loot and burn their properties".[34] At an undefined time in the morning of 1 November, Sajjan Kumar led a mob of people along the Palam Railway main road to the Mangolpuri neighbourhood where the crowd answered his calls with chants of "Kill the Sardars" and "Indira Gandhi is our mother and these people have killed her".[35] In Sultanpuri, Moti Singh, a Sikh who had served in the Congress party for 20 years heard Sajjan Kumar give the following speech:

Whoever kills the sons of the snakes, I will reward them. Whoever kills Roshan Singh and Bagh Singh will get 5,000 rupees each and 1,000 rupees each for killing any other Sikhs. You can collect these prizes on November 3 from my personal assistant Jai Chand Jamadar.[note 1]

The CBI recently told the court that during the riot Sajjan Kumar had said that "not a single Sikh should survive".[7][37] It also said that Delhi police kept its "eyes closed" during the riot as it was pre-planned.[7]

In the neighbourhood of Shakarpur, Congress (I) leader Shyam Tyagi's home was used as a meeting place for an undefined number of people.[36] H. K. L. Bhagat, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting distributed money to Boop Tyagi, Shyam Tyagi's brother, and ordered him to “Keep these two thousand rupees for liquor and do as I have told you.... You need not worry at all. I will look after everything.”[36]

During the night of 31 October, Balwan Khokhar, a local Congress (I) party leader who was later implicated in the ensuing massacre, held a meeting at the Ration Shop of Pandit Harkesh in the Palam Colony.[36] At 08:30 on 1 November, Shankar Lal Sharma, an active Congress party supporter, held a meeting at his shop where he formed a mob and had the people swear to kill Sikhs.[36]

The chief weapon used by the mobs, kerosene was supplied by a group of Congress Party leaders who owned filling stations.[38] In Sultanpuri, Brahmanand Gupta, the president of the A-4 block Congress Party distributed oil while Congress Party MP Sajjan Kumar "instructed the crowd to kill Sikhs, and to loot and burn their properties" as he had in other meetings throughout New Delhi.[38] 

In much the same way, meetings were held in places like Cooperative Colony in Bokaro where P.K. Tripathi, president of the local Congress Party and owner of a gas station in Nara More, provided kerosene to mobs.[38] Aseem Shrivastava, a Masters student at the Delhi School of Economics described the organised nature of the mobs in an affidavit submitted to the Misra Commission:

The attack on Sikhs and their property in our locality appeared to be an extremely organized affair...There were also some young men on motorcycles, who were instructing the mobs and supplying them with kerosene oil from time to time. On more than a few occasions we saw auto-rickshaw arriving with several tins of kerosene oil and other inflammable material such as jute-sacks.[39]

A senior official at the Ministry of Home Affairs informed journalist Ivan Fera, that an arson investigation of several businesses burned in the riots had uncovered an unnamed combustible chemical "whose provision required large-scale coordination".[40] Eyewitness reports confirmed the use of a combustible chemical besides kerosene.[40] The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee later identified 70 affidavits which cited the use of a highly flammable chemical in its written arguments before the Misra Commission.[38]

Use of voter lists by the Congress Party

On 31 October, Congress party officials provided assailants with voter lists, school registration forms, and ration lists.[41] The lists were used to find the location of Sikh homes and business, an otherwise impossible task because they were located in unmarked and diverse neighbourhoods. On the night of 31 October, the night before the massacres began, assailants used the lists to mark the houses of Sikhs with letter "S".[41] In addition, because most of the mobs were illiterate, Congress Party officials provided help in reading the lists and leading the mobs to Sikh homes and businesses in the other neighbourhoods.[38] By using the lists the mobs were able to pinpoint the locations of Sikhs they otherwise would have missed.[38]

Sikh men not in their homes were easily identified by their distinctive turban and beard while Sikh women were identified by their dress. In some cases, the mobs returned to locations where they knew Sikhs were hiding after consulting their lists. One man, Amar Singh, escaped the initial attack on his house by having a Hindu neighbour drag him into his neighbour's house and declare him dead. 

However, a group of 18 assailants later came looking for his body, and when his neighbour replied that others had already taken away the body an assailant showed him a list and replied, "Look, Amar Singh's name has not been struck off from the list so his dead body has not been taken away."

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